tv After Words CSPAN September 5, 2016 5:00pm-6:01pm EDT
our candidates still don't understand it and it is a relatively new phenomenon though some people have said i was one of first people that they were able to take down on internet when i made the mistake of over speaking myself one time and i was shocked. i mean it became around-the-clock, 24/7 and now you have a spoken twitter and you have all this stuff and it can really just destroy you and you don't even know where it's all coming from. so i don't think we really quite comprehend that yet. with regard to the silos my partner now and since i retired eight years before a democrat from weighs in a the last free
enterprise pro democrat legislator left in washington. we are good friends that his tv in his office is on "msnbc" 24/7. i don't watch anything but fox. every now and then i gagged a little bit and i will go over to "cnn" and then about 10 minutes i'm back over on fox. when i get up in the morning and when i read, i read "the wall street journal", you know and "politico" than i do a little bit of an aberration. i read in the "washington post" and "the new york times" to find out what the enemy is up to. [laughter] so at least i do. those two papers but i think it's a big part of what the problem is an american now. i don't do facebook and twitter and that kind of stuff. i'm not sending out anything when i don't know who is getting it but it is a big part of what we are experiencing. i don't want to say a big part of our problems, it's there and i think politically we still
have not figured out exactly how to do it. stewart won that you pick that up. [inaudible question] mean you are a consultant. >> we actually have to go so i will spare that. i will only say i enjoyed the romney campaign and there is a "new york times" article that showed how out of touch from me was and social media. since i have started reading i think i've cleared that up. we would have carried utah so it's a very dangerous thing and if you look at donald trump i think if you are working in the trump campaign you live in fear of his next tweet. [laughter] piece person were with a tweet or be trolled by someone in the moms basement in moscow. but we are out of time here. just want to thank both of you.
program you'll hear from georgetown university professor rosa brooks discussing her book, "how everything became war and the military became everything". in this book she examines the change in how america fights wars and the growing role of the u.s. military in ongoing conflicts. >> host: rose that it's great to be here with you and discuss his this book which is a long time in the making and a great resource book and folks arranges to an civil military issues in the united states and some other contemporary issues we are facing with regard to the military. let's start with one of the key products of the book which isis the title which is how we became too dependent on our militaryob problem. >> guest: i don't know we become too dependent but we have certainly become very dependent on the military to solve problems. it's one of the things that blew my mind when i spent time in
that world but when i got there like many americans i assumed with the military does is prepared to fight wars in the traditional sense of blowing stuff up and shooting at people and obviously pentagon does do that. but it was just amazing to me how much else people in the military now do whether it's planning for grams to prevent sexual violence in the congo, to programs to encourage microenterprise among afghan women or training judges are producing radio call-in shows, you name it. somebody in the pentagon is doing it and it's half amazing and inspiring and half scary.d s >> host: you very much in the book talk about your experiences inside the pentagon. you go beyond that but let's pick up on how the heck did you end up at the pentagon, a lawyer by training. your parents racked of us in thw
60s and also last place theyy probably expected to find her daughter. you are writer. why do you talk a little bit about coming to the pentagon, what brought you there and what led you to write a book about that experience?out >> guest: you know i never thought i would end up at the pentagon. they never thought i'd end up marrying an army officer. i did become -- come from and antiwar family and some of my early memories like age four in central park sitting on thee grass operating the end of the vietnam war. my parents had taken me to the end of vietnam war celebration and protesting when i was 10 the requirement that young menay register for the draft. i think for me what ended up happening, coming from a family that was very critical of u.s. military and the way it had been used was that i ended up working after law school for various human rights organizations and i ended up for a time at the state department and the human rights bureau and i found myself inun
places such as kosovo and sierra leone during the civil war ended in kosovo, nato, forces led by the u.s. have had to use their power to stop an imminent ethnic cleansing campaign. in sierra leone a british military intervention helps close a really horrific war so for the first time in my life more or less i was both meeting lots of people who were in the military and seeing up close the fact that military power could be used for good and it really shook up my own stereotypes in a lot of ways and left me much more aware that it's just a more complicated story. b i think for me that then led to an interest in the role of the military in post-conflict reconstruction, led to a book that i did previously on the military efforts to build the rule of law in the wake ofrule
conflict and how i ended up at the pentagon frankly i was so working.he oba obama administration doing what lots of people and administration were doing which was sending a most everybody iil knew saying i would really like to be part of this and one of the people i e-mailed was michele flournoy who was nominated to be the undersecretary of defense policy and she was the first person forward enough to say sure, okay i think we can make something work at the pentagon. why do you come and work for me there. >> host: what you describe a little bit about what your job was in wide-ranging issues it led to because it's a reallyly fascinating portfolio that you have. >> guest: i went in without a clear portfolio at all and i worked obviously for human rights groups and the rule of law humanitarian law. i was also a writer.ng i had been working on a weekly
column for "the los angeles times" for several years at that point and when michele flournoy brought me in she said to me, i don't quite know what you should do but why don't you start out by becoming a speechwriter and help me with speeches and congressional testimony and we will figure out what else you should do as time goes by. for me it was a terrific education because i hadn't particularly wanted to be writing speeches but one of the good things, and a bad thing about writing speeches and testimony for someone is that you have to learn a little bit about everything and you have to go out and you have to talk to everybody and you are constantly moving from issue to issue. one week you are on a draft of congressional testimony in afghanistan in meeting the congo congo -- afghanistan experts so
for me was a fascinating crash course in all the major policy issues and what happened over time is as you know, michelle was a fantastic boss and she was the kind of bosses said what do you want to be doing and why? okay tell me how you want me to help you do that. over time i said i would like to work on some of the rule of law and rights issues that are in my background that i care about a lot. so i began to work on those issues as well which was really satisfying.at >> host: so in that set of experiences while you were there obviously i'm sure these ideas that are in this book camecame r throughout and he talked about your time in kosovo. what in that set of pentagon experiences crystallize for you this dilemma that you talk about in your book in terms of at least the first half of the dilemma or the second half, how the military became everything. are there things thatat crystallize what the problem was?
>> guest: in some ways i suppose. one of many portfolios i ended up taking up in the pentagon wax looking at the defense department strategic communication and information operations program and that was an area too where who knew, the defense department is doing very much everything you could think of from sponsoring peace conferences in africa to producing soap operas and comic works and also doing some more stuff that is in the covert realm designed to influence and ie was again impressed by the range of projects and impressed by many the people i met and yet also could not but think why is the pentagon doing some of theng stuff and that certainly was the attitude of many of my colleagues from the state department at the time who had come over and we get quite angry and say why are you people doing this stuff quick pseudo-know
what you are doing. shouldn't be doing it. we are the ones who should be doing it and the dilemma of thee pentagon is doing it he doesody somebody feels that the united states needs to be doing it, whether that's right or wrong is another question. the united states needs to be doing it, the civilian agencies, usaid, have in many ways been defunded for a period of many many decades and have really lost a lot of their ability to put programs on that they might have had during the peak of ther cold war for instance which means that the white house and congress turned to the militaryo the military is big enough that people who you can send anywhere in the world on very short novice and they don't get to say i don't delay going to iraq. that's not sure of civilian agencies so it turns into a big. circle where the more we look around and we say well it's a complex role, threats don't coma neatly packaged.
they are coming from cyberspace and coming from terrorism and future viruses and who knows what. if we want to preventing conflict than the united states has to be doing everything. we have to address the root causes of terrorism and we have to be looking at political oppression and economic development. we have to look at the information domain and cyberspace. the more you do that you need somebody do it u.s. military to do it the more the military does at the last you need the civilian agencies the more you have to give it the resources to do it. and that becomes a divisive cycle rated. >> there've been efforts over time secretary rice and clinton both choose -- secretaries who tried to fill a growing capacity strengthen the loophole and rule with you well in many of these areas. are those efforts doomed to
failure? is their equity that can't be closed or wish we be doing? >> guest: i think like many good liberals i started out and said the military shouldn't be doing this stuff. we need to rebuild the capacity of the civilian sector and it is quite shocking how little funding the state department and the military is that over time i became a nobody would call it crazily optimistic but in earlier the earlier years the obama administration both president obama himself and the defense secretary robert gates and secretary of state hillary clinton made a lot of speeches saying we need to rebuild the civilian sector, we need to restore a more funding to the civilian area and gates said from the secretary of defense the military can't do its job unless we have civilian partnera who can do their job and we
don't want to be doing all these crazy government developments and we want them to do it. and nothing really happened. nothing really changed at all. i think i eventually found myself shifting to a position where the definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting something different to happen everyone washington was saying we really need to rebuild the civilian sector and it never happened. i started asking people do you think in our political lifetimes is there any political will in congress to change them and everybody would say no not really. at a certain point you have to stop saying this have to happen and that's not going to happen lots of world peace out to happen but if it's not going to happen and what do we do about it so the plan b becomes if we have to accept the political reality congress is not going to
wake up one morning and say hey lets triple the budget. but if that's not going to happen if the military future is going to continue to be asked to take on this wide range of tasks and let's make sure the military is good at it. let's make sure the skills and areas of expertise that you need to come resident from the military which is a profound implications for everything from how we recruit to how we train to how we manage military personnel to military personnel systems and so forth. >> host: are there places where you have experience where we do that well, where the military has been given a task and the training and the resources and the leadership has followed and that obviously also are there cases where you are more worried that they haven't? >> guest: i think we are doing better on things like cyber partly because i think it's closer to traditional military a tr lot sonic warfare for instance.
i think when it comes to the governance and economic development spheres that the military is floundering in part that's because it's just hard. it's not that the military is bad at it it's partly because everybody is bad at it. but that being said we obviously still recruit and train military personnel as if the world had not changed that much since 1955 and there are exceptions. we have short courses and lots of people trying really hard tot figure out how do we adapt and what do we need to do differently but i got myself into a little bit of hot water few years ago because i wrote a pundit column for the magazine arguing that the military up to start recruiting at aarp conferences, the american
association of retired people and i was sort of joking partly at least but the more serious point is the u.s. military still recruits as if this is the 19th century and what we need are brawny young man and there's nothing wrong with brawny young men and some of our military personnel as we speak are out there crawling around in the dirt and carrying heavy packs and doing exactly what infantrymen have done for centuries or less. but we are in a world now where already 85% of the military personnel are not in combatat. occupations at all. they are in various types of roles even though in combat roles they may never be deployed into combat or if they are they find themselves working on thest evidence projects or economic development projects and if youo know for a fact that many of the servicemembers are going to be
asked to do every thing from writing computer code to designing radio call-in soap operas, why are we still focusing all of our recruiting energy is that they are all going to be infantrymen? we still need infantrymen but really we need to think differently about the kinds of skills as we need to bring into the military. we either need to bring the man or grove and when they are there. had we make sure we have the military personnel system that lets us bring people in and out to get needed skills and to leta personnel go out of work at google and the work at a university or wherever it may be and come back and. we have this very richest system and i think it's not serving us that well at a moment in time when we need much more flexibility and we need a really wide range of skills. >> the other major premise in your book is not just how the military became everything but how everything became more as a
human rights lawyer. i have a feeling that's the issue set that has been tears to your heart if you will over time as much as it is impressive that you have learned so much on civil military relations. on that issue i wonder if you could talk a little bit about coming in 2009 to the first administration under this very complex landscape in terms of the issues about pension policy and issues about direct targeted attacks on the united states through different means, the war in iraq, the war in afghanistan. there is so much going on. what were the issues that you think were most worrisome to you that most made you want to join the obama team and get in and make change? >> guest: as a bystanderke during the first administration i had like many other people
watched in some horror as thewa u.s. response to the september 11 attack became almost purely a military response and more worrying not so much because i think the military could not have been mu used and a role for military force and counterterrorism but the person in charge made a decision early on to view all of our responses to the 9/11ie attacks from the legal framework of war considered an armed conflict for legal purposes and the legal framework we have both in terms of international law and u.s. law to legal framework for war is different than the legal framework we have for the rest that is not war or what if you want to color, ordinary life and basically to put it in a nutshell during peacetime the state is not supposed to go around killing people take you
only get to kill them if you have put them on trial, you have an elaborate judicial process, you have to present evidence and so on and so forth in peacetime we have lots of safeguards for individual rights. in peacetime we are in toleranc of governmental secrecy. we have lots of checks and balances for anything the executive branch would do that would infringe on the right. in the wartime its opposite. in wartime peacetime to kill somebody you'll be charged with murder and the more time if you are combat and then you kill another combatant coming you have what is called combatant community. you don't get prosecuted for killing the enemy because you are supposed to. once you shift to that legal framework for war we tolerate a lot more government secrecy, government coercion, governmento use of lethal force. once the bush administration made that decision to say terrorism is in that box we call
war and the legal rule for war will apply to everything we do, you've got things like u.s. plucking up control all over the world outside of the combat zone in bosnia nigeria etc. as well as in places such as afghanistan , saying we think there are terrorists and in many cases sending them to guantánamo saying they are not entitled to lawyers, they are not entitled to due process in very early on we get lots of people journalists and ngos saying wait, wait, wait how do we vinova these people are quick some of these people may not be who we think they are but if you are in the law for you don't have to do anything to find out. you can just say hey it's a war it could happen get over it. we start drifting into this world in which this magic act of waving a wand and saying i'm
going to call this war meant u that u.s. government was doing thing in any other universe would have a quite shocking. literally kidnapping people in countries around the world that we are not at war and imprisoning them without any access to due process and not even acknowledging who we were keeping our wife. that really shocked me as an american citizen. a i was shocked that our government was doing that and president obama really campaigned in 2007 and 2008 in many ways rolling back what he saw as excesses. some of his very first acts when he was sworn in, the very first few days were a series of executive orders banning torture , saying that he was going to close one, and creating a review process to figure out how to close one time and i think for me like any of the
people i came into the pentagon thinking okay he's going to fix this. >> host: in fact in 2009 after you get there if you did take a trip down to guantánamo ray takeye little bit about that experience. >> it was very strange. have you been there yourself? it's very beautiful. it's the juxtaposition of this barbed wire and armed guards with this incredible physical beauty. it's a tropical island and is quite jarring. i think what struck me the most about wanton among other than the surreal qualities of resort by the sea with barbed wire and seeing terrorist masterminds on the stairmaster which you kind of go what? wow. what struck me the most was the problem by 2000 the problem wasn't guantánamo and a sense.
it wasn't the conditions. by that time i think the physical conditions for detainees were better than many stateside american prisons. the period in which there were allegations of mistreatment of detainees was over.t was trou but what was troubling about wanton amo was the sense of here we have people who at that point had been detained by the amount amount -- and i stayed for eight years. no charge for most of them, no trial. increasingly our own government research suggesting that many of those people had been plucked up by the state. they should have been there in the first place and yet they were there for no foreseeable prospect of relief and that still shocks me a little bit. it shocks me when president obama eventually embraces the idea of indefinite detention because it featured dangerousness. >> host: one thing i wanted to
draw from your book you come back from this trip and you write in the book that you had tried to write about this issue inside your own chain of command and you said there are alternatives to holding them indefinitely. there is ongoing electronic monitoring. in the end i concluded the risk of releasing dangerous detainees while not noncitizens was outweighed by the multiple arrests associate with adopting a detention framework and so you go wanted the book to talk about how he sought to push that viewpoint inside the interagency process if you like to call it in washington inside the pentagon and more broadly and in the end after some time you decided i'm going to give up one this. i'm not making headway. >> guest: i got absolutely
nowhere.wh >> host: can you talk a little bit about now with somee hindsight are there things you think somebody who wants to make changes comes in with that idea and with the strength and background, the legal background and training that you have and experience of going down and being at wanton amo that conveys some amount of culpability?s how can someone make change inside the system or is it incredibly hard? >> guest: it's incredibly hard and i'd be interested in hearing your own thoughts on this because you are also in a position inside the pentagon where you were struggling to push forward various reforms and some of them got stuck. you know the u.s. government is a massive bureaucracy and there are good things about that and there are bad things about it and the good thing about it is that it's in many ways it's a brake on crazy ideas because yo
have presidents come and go, political appointees and people they have put into place come and go but you have people who will be there for years and have a lot of experience and some have a lot of wisdom and can put the brakes on craziness. on the other hand sometimes those same people also put the brakes on good for all kinds of competition reasons than i do think on that particular issue,, the issue of detainee policy and what should happen at guantánamo that is hard to unwind thehe bureaucracy once you created in 2009 admin eight years of setting up this elaborate apparatus within the military to deal with detainees and there were people whose careers were it deeply invested in that. cole.. ended up deciding
he had other priorities like health care reform and the capital he would have needed he wasn't willing maybe that was the right decision realizing what he cares about and wh i think he ended up deciding on just not going to fight this one. >> host: right. another area that you were very involved with the pentagon, subsequently and in this same vein of applying legal framework in this not war space, was targeted attacks, outside combat zones typically, most people associate it with drone attacks. talk about -- you talk in the book about drones -- how you find the legal framework working, if it is, and where it's troubling to you. >> guest: so, this goes back to the same set of reasons we've
gotten into a situation where the military is doing so many nontraditional things. right? the world is complicated. we -- the threats, the security threats that the u.s. faces now don't competely packaged and it's russia or china or germany, and look, you can tell they're coming because a whole bunch of people wearing uniforms driving tanks are rolling towards us. enclosingly we're facing threats that cross borders and may not have anything to do with the formal decisions made by states or the militaries. loose lie organized networks. cyber threats and so forth, and they don't look like what we normally think of as crime because sometimes these are threats that can cause death or destruction on a scale that historically is associated with the use of military force by states. but they don't look like war, either. and if you decide that you're
going to -- the problem it, one way to put it would be to say wy have a world in which there are threats this whole continuum, from the traditional mass state-on-state conflict at one end of the continuum. at the other entough that looks more like individual crimes. a guy drives a truck out there a crowded nice. so we have threats along this continuum with a big area in between, traditional crime, traditional war, and a legal system that doesn't allow for in betweenness. a legal tim that says, pick one. either it's war in which case you get this set of rules, 0 it's not war in which case you get a totally set of rules that are tie die metrically the office. we don't know how to decide -- what is an armed conflict, war, a weapon? is that truck a weapon?
used by the guy in nice who killed so many people? was an airplane a weapon? a box cutter on september 11th well that, killed a lot of people.r what is a combatant? somebody who doesn't belong to any military who may never carry a traditional weapon but who may be involved in planning or supporting or aiding some kind of plot that will eventually hurt people? do we have any threshold level of how many people would they have to hurt? we have no idea, basically. and so we're increasingly making these kind of arbitrary decisions about, should we consider this person over here a come bat tenant in an armed -- combatant in an armed conflict or some guy who may or may be up to something but isn't othert combatant in a war. if we decide that these people are combatant inside an armed conflict and we have a tearinged strike, whether it's a treason
or something else, it's nothing new, any different than an american getting off a boat in normandie and shooting at germans. you lawful wartime killings of enemy come pat want noth al problem no, legal problem. on the other hand if we're not sure it's a war or the person is a combat stability and the us kills them in yemen or libya or pakistan, we just murdered some guy. the united states just murdered somebody based on secret evidence that it's not willing to knowledge and that's shocking. we want to know the difference between war and not war, but right now we have a legal framework that makes you choose and both choices look like bad choices. that's a farley profound dilemma we're in and what we have beenen doing is piling more and more into that war category because, frankly, it's convenient for the government. it's much more convenient to be able to say, i don't have to acknowledge this.
i don't have to give you the reasons. trust me. it's always easier for the executive branch to say that. >> host: one thing you write about that is row lated to that if one thought this is a period of time' going to close a chapter, and we go back to a neat war/peace dichotomy, that would be one thing, but your argument is this is not ending, and in fact this state of not war, the gap in between war and peace, which we haven't come up with a good term for, it's enduring. can you talk about where you think we're going with this. do you see a way in which we can get back to the old way, and if not -- if ever there was as old way or not just in our mines, or do you think we need to change how we think about the --or >> guest: i think we need to change how we think about it. the neatness of these legal categories was alwayst the overstated.
even during the last big state-on-state conflict during world war ii, there were on the margins definitional problems. partisans, people who ignore the laws of war. the nazis in a big way. but i think what has happened in the seven decades since then, since the end of world war ii, has been that we before gone from a vision where irexceptions on the margins to a situation where the exceptions are overwhelming the normment thee form for the u.s. troops is to be involved in this murky space between traditional all-out state-on-state conflict and peace. and i can't see that changing. it's a huge institution challenge for the military because the fact that these new kinds of threats, more inco hate types of threats are emerging, doesn't mean the old threat goes away. they're still there. you still do have to worry about
traditional state uses of militaryiers to. at the same time you also have to with about other in between stuff and that enormous challenge how we prepare, how any institution or nation operates there. but i do think the new stuff is not going to go away. only going to get murkier and murkier. they salens of border is not going to increase, technology is pushing in a different direction and we have to figure out both operationally for the mill pear and legally and morally and politically how do we operate i a world -- how do we preserve the values we care about, democratic accountability. rule of law. respect for individual life and liberty. how too we preserve those values in a world where the old legal frameworks don't seem to give us satisfying solutions? how do we come up with new sets of rules for that murkey in between space?e?
new ways to act in that murky in between space and that's hard. think that's the work of generations to figure that out. but i think that if we don't do it, we're going to be in trouble. >> host: i'm thinking relatively recently of the case where the u.s. government wanted to get apple, for example, to be able to crack into an iphone. of course that went back and forth and finally the government says we found our own solution. that just one example maybe of this space continuing. how too you think the private sector fits into the picture of what was traditionally a government sphere.go >> guest: it's going to have to fit in. if nothing else, other states, including states we view at adversaries, such as russia, are being pretty creative about exploiting that ill-defined space where you move betweenil private and public actors and don't always know who is doing what. and sometimes you're using
traditional military force, sometimes you're using prop -- propaganda or proxies. we have to get got at it. we're hampered by the fact we're not an authoritarian state. makes it inconvenient. >> happily hamper. >> guest: we don't want to become one. that's the challenge weapon t don't want to become one. the price we pay for getting good at that is we become author tearin and then we all lose. what was the point? so i think that the war-peace line, the public-private line, the civilian-military lines are all lean wes drew -- humans drew. god didn't hand them down and said only people wearingow uniforms can do this task and this and only this is a war ask this is the private sector and this the public sector and only the public sect can do these things and the private sector can only do these things. these are categories, school ane
critical, we create to achieve certain purposes. we create them to help wind build the kind of world we want to live in and we can change them. if blurring the line between public and private, we worry about that, we worry about that because we worry about corruption, accountability and so forthbut there's no inherent reason you can't simply create dismechanism for assuring conditionable and reducing corruption if you have a more blended set of operations or actors. the limit is our own imagination.nd we get very stuck. we go, but the law says, such and such, so i have to put everything into this box or that box and we get tied up in knotsful this is an invitation to have a different kind of conversation, one that doesn't start with the law and political institutions as they are but one that, rather, starts with what do we want to be able to do and
how -- what kind of legal and political framework would we need to create, to do that while at the same time protecting rights and the rule of law? >> host: for the legal community issue would think it also requires a shift in the type of skill sets and way of thinking from layman's terms. legal interpretation, to legal theory. development of legal policy. have you seen progress inside the legal community, particularly with regard to national security?ga sunny think there has been some and i think we are getting a growing cohort of lawyers and legal academics who havel experience also working inside the government, the pentagon, the state department, otherme places, and who can kind of connect the dots between these different worlds. but -- some of this is reallyary hard. reinventing international institutions.rn that really hard. but some pieces are actually
pretty easy and i think we sometimes let the fact there are lots of hard problems prevent us from doing anything about the relatively easy problems. so fixing international law, hard.ar fixing international institutions hard. making u.s. target drone strikes more transparent and accountable.co that is easy. >> host: what are the key things. >> guest: greater due process, whether a quasi-you additional process or independent commission. we always have the assumption you don't have judicial process when it comes to wartime use of force. it's premised on the idea that it's all like the invasion of normandie. you can't imagine a court on the beach. people are dying all around. but when it comes to targeted strikes, in most cases, the u.s. has been tracking someone and building in effect a case. >> do decision space.ks
>> guest: for weeks or years and it becomes feasible when the process is that long to add in additional layers of process that are outside of the executive branch.. do you have issues about protecting intelligence sources and methods? sure but you can clear people. you can figure out a mechanism. that one strikes me as pretty easy. there are half a dozen easy ways that don't address every last-- problem with every last case but get you 85% of the way to tracing the most common oxes. president obama could sign an executive order. >> host: do you see prospects to that. >> guest: unfortunately know and i find that baffling. he hayes made numerous speeches declaring his commitment to increasing transparency and accountable, taken a few baby steps, including most recently some declaration of certain number of civilian casualties, but he has done much less than any of the speeches suggest he would and at this point, unless
he has an 11th hour, this is part of my legacy, change of heart, i don't think we'll see much progress. >> host: another area in this vein is authorization for the use of military force. we have had an ongoing or episodic debate inside the congress whether there ought to be a new authorization and it gets back to these constitutional baseses for what the heck it is we're doing in the world, whatever we call it. what is your thought on how that debate has progressed and where it needs to go. >> guest: it's another one where the problem is not the issue is just could complicated. the problem is lack of politicar will. the 2001 authorization to use military force was passed just a five days after the september 11th attacks, and essentially congress gave the president the authority to use force against the people and organizations that had planned or abetted the september 11
attack for the purpose of presenting such attacks against the united states in the future. so fairly restrictive. the bush administration asked congress to pass a very different authorization, one that just said, president can use force against whoever he wants to to responsible to this, and congress had gone, no, no, that's -- we want something that is narrower and we want to restrict toes use of force to go after those who were responsible to for this to prevent the same thing from happening in the future. over time, over the last 15 years, that seemingly relativela narrow legal authorization has been used most obviously andou correctly inappropriately to justify the u.s. -- legally justify the use of force in afghanistan.he it was -- against the taliban, against other actors and other states, against numbers of somalia's al-shabaab
organization against members of isis, in syria, libya iraq, groups that didn't even exist at the time of 9/11 that had nothing to do with it that don't seem to be plotting similar attacks to the united states. >> not align evidence with al qaeda. >> guest: repudiated by al qaeda and they may be bad people we may be needing to use military force again but we have shoe-horned this stuff into one paragraph authorization to use force in a way that has stretched it so unbelievably and i don't think there's anybody in either party who won't acknowledge that, including president obama, who even as he relies on it says i think it's overly broad but we're in a situation where you have everybody saying it's overbroad and should should be changed but nobody, including the president, willing to say, yeah, we'll stop relying on it because we think we have stretched the bounds of where we can take this.
if he stopped relying on it it would put congress on the spot and they'd have to come up with something else, but it's a game of chicken. doesn't want to say, all right, i'm stopping. no more air strikes on anybody until you guys get your act together. if he opportunity do that -- he should call their plouffe -- nothing will change. >> host: this backdrop, the context of sclerosis or dysfunction or lack of abilityro to make real political progress inside washington really fits in there. both with regard to, for instance, not'ing able to get authorizations for civilian departments to undertake missions, and thus the defense budget and defense authorizatioa bill becomes the vehicle for everything, and in this sense of not being able to come to consensus in the national security realm around the rules that will guide us goingford,
even when there seems to be consensus.s. >> guest: should be something. >> host: something should change. obviously that goes beyond where you try to go in the book. i wander how much again back too this issue of is this a chapter that end -- do we have a chap they're into the future that cans different? do you think a change in that context, the seriousness about resolving these issues can takees to a different place. >> guest: i would really like too see the u.s. create some sort of universal national service program. i think that is the only thing that over time might help us t break the kind of partisan gridlock and dysfunction and mutual mistrust that hasas surfaced so much in this election season, for instance, and characterized the relations between congress and the white m house for so much of the last eight years. >> host: what what would that look like?
>> guest: i like -- there's this myth we have.world war ii, whico has some truth in it, which is that the draft, mass mobilization for the draft, brought together -- when you're a hollywood producer you createo this little platoon and had the italian guy from brooklyn and the jewish guy from new york and the farm boy from iowa and the scandinavian immigrant from north dakota, and the black -- they-they all know each other and they're all suspicious of each other and come together and they're fighting fascism and nazis and by the end of it we're all just americans and we love each other. there's some truth to that. that the mass mobilization did in many ways bind america together and gave a generation a common experience and a sense of common identity, which i do think for the next couple of decades helped fuel a much greater degree of bipartisanship
in american politics and foreign policy. i don't think it's realistic, and nobody wants to have a military draft and we don't need one in terms of the sheer numbers for military service but we have so many problems in this country, ranging from infrastructure problems to brock problems in our public schools not to speak of the lack of foreign assistance officials and so forth. would love to see a national service program that was mandatory for 18 months or so you had to do it at some point between the ages of 18 and, say, 23 or 24, and you could choose whether you wanted to be subject to national needs go into the peace corp-eu kind of work or be raining bridges or teaching kids or being in the army, and i think that something like that brought everybody in and mixed them if geographically, ethnically, in terms of class, much as the forecast once did for young americans.
i think it would be really powerful, and people always say, oh, no, no, that would be too expensive. don't think that's right. think it would be expensive up front to do, but it would be a massive investment, both in infrastructure reform and in building precisely the kinds of skills that we want to have. we want to have nurses and teachers, et cetera, et cetera. and i think that is the only kind of thing i can think of that would really shake things up and really give us a fighting chance of getting past some of this -- the partisanship that has been so detrimental and so destructive on so many different issues. >> host: some of strongest proponents have been former military, general stan mcchrystal is one of those. is that born of the military experience? >> guest: i do. here's the most amazing thing about the american military. has all kinds of problems but it's the institution capable of
marshaling so much human talent, so quickly, and really quite amazingly effectively, all things considered. there's another story i mention in the book, major general paul eaton, told me at one point he was talking about being in afghanistan and realizing a certain point that it would be impossible to have an enduring peace with the taliban no, matter how many people you killed, if the afghans could not reform their agricultural economic, to be less dependent on opium poppies. so he wanted to get selfan expertise and he -- oversimplifying his story but hy calls up the department of agriculture in washington andd says, i'm an army general, i'm in afghanistan, could you please send some agricultural experts out here. we need your help and thehe department of agriculture says, we only have two of them and they're really busy and they don't want to go to afghanistan. and so the army goes -- biggoes
collective head scratch and says, wait a second. the army reserve has -- and the national guard has farmers. it has people who work for agriculture companies.mp let find them and bring them here, and a year later we hade hundreds and hundreds of american reservists and national guard troops who had some agricultural background. were they quite the right people? no. some people said, i had a garden. i can't advise the afghans on agriculture production. but what an amazing ability for a country to do that. if we can take the energy and talent, the incredible talent and diversity we have and put it to work for the whole country, that would be so wonderful.. >> host: so you have had your book out now for at least a few weeks, and you -- >> guest: one week. >> host: goodness. i thought it was two weeks but you have had it -- already been within up in "the wall street
journal," "new york times" multiple times. and other publics, what has surprised you the post some delightout the most about at the reception for the book? >> what has made my happiest about is, other than every writer wants to get attention and reviews -- it's depressing when you write your book and nobody reads it.t. i think what has made me happiest is for the most part, with a few exceptions but for the most part the response app has been very nonideological. don't see it as an ideologicalie or partisan book at all. see the arguments as ones that don't fit neatly into democrat, republican, liberal, conservative, and have been gratified that by and large that's been the reception i've gotten. i've gotten really positive feedback from people who were on the other side of the political aisle and i've gotten positive
feeback from military audiences, people in the intelligence community and poem at the state department, ordinary americans who don't work for the government, and that feels really nice to feel like there is a community that doesn't see these as partisan issues, and that just sees these as issue we alled in to care about urgently. >> host: how about inside your own community? you talked about across the aisle but do you feel like inside your community of folks interested in legal issues with regard to national security,th that your righting, your work, beyond the book itself, that the timing is right for that community to take that next step and move to developing some kind of framework that makes -- >> i hope so. what became -- the germ of what became this book was an article i wrote and published in 2004, and there are some fundamental ways in which i've been saying the same thing -- it's densing
when you say -- i'm been saying the same thing for a dozen year now, and earlier on everybody thought i was crazy when i said the boundaries between war and peace are breaking down. everybody was saying, that wrong.pi now i don't get that anymore. now most of the time with moist audiences get, yeah, that's happening. you're right the last five years i feel like there have been lots of people it's true but they're spinning in circles that would do. so i hope the book becomes a small part of tipping that discussion over from goingss around in circles to, yes, we need to change this. i hope that will happen. >> host: so, 15 year anniversary of 9/11 coming up. where do you see that nexter chapter going? a continuing war on terror? are there new horizons that concern you in gap between peace
and war we're not yet in front of? since you're the -- you are the canary 1 year ago, can you give us guidans? i don't want to be a canary. that's not a good thing. so, i think what has become more apparent in the last few years, which is a real kind of warning for everybody, including people who have been in denial aboutn these issues -- has been that other bad actors, adversaries or adopting the arguments and legal frameworks that the united states has made to do bad things we don't like. to give just one example, on issues of sovereignty, i remember vladimir putin commenting some years ago in response to some u.s. unilateral actions he didn't like.. the said this is a two-ended stick and the other side will come back and hit you in the
face. and it did in ukraine in all kinds of ways. think that one of the things i've been saying for a long time, many others have as well, has been saying, hey, wait a minute. when with say things in the united states, like we can detain this person in definitely because we have information we don't have to share with anybody else that says they're planning somebody against it but we won't make any mistakes because we're the good guys. when we say we can send a drone or special operations team to kill a person in a foreign country with which we're not at war and don't have tong we did it, much less tell you why or share he evidence because, trust us, we're good and we're the good guys. well, other people hear that, and not everybody is a good guy, and other people say, hey, united states, you've get to say
it's a secret, it's national security, trust us, we get to say it, too, and we're going to do a whole lot of things you're going to hate under those rubrics, and many of us said for years, watch out these, precedents will come back to bite us and they are coming back to bite us. think if nothing else -- one of two things will happen.ne either we'll end up in a much worse world in which the precedents we have set aboutrs unilateral action, about the -- using force without having in buy insure from the u.n. security council, the precedents we have set about detaining people or killing people, based on secret classified evidence we won't reveal and won't reveal that we killed them. either that becomes the norm and lots of international actor does the same thing and that's a scarry world whether everybody